On Friday the 13th, more than two years after the original complaint was filed, Judge Sylvia Rambo upheld the Chesapeake Bay TMDL in its entirety, ruling against the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) view that Congress gave that role to the states, not the federal government.
Bob Stallman, AFBF President, said, “The American Farm Bureau Federation is deeply disappointed with the district court’s ruling upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s total maximum daily load for the Chesapeake Bay. We believe the ruling is incorrect and has huge implications for farmers and many others in the Bay area and nationwide.”
“Win or lose in this lawsuit, farmers care deeply about our natural environment and want to do our part to improve water quality. But Congress did not authorize EPA to dictate how farmers, builders, homeowners, and towns would share the responsibility of achieving clean water. That is the states’ job. We believe EPA’s approach wrongly puts federal agency staff in charge of intensely local land use decisions.”
This case started in January 2010. AFBF and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau filed a lawsuit against EPA in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania challenging the lawfulness of EPA’s recently finalized Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The lawsuit asserted three basic claims: (a) the TMDL micromanages state water quality decisions, in violation of EPA’s limited Clean Water Act authority; (b) EPA arbitrarily disregarded science, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and (c) EPA issued the TMDL with insufficient opportunity for public participation in violation of the APA.
Judge Rambo’s decision is 99 pages long. Everyone from each side of this issue are analyzing the document to better understand the full implications of the decision.
Stay tuned for more updates on this issue on Plows and Politics.